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(The Center Square) – Virginia's Russell County will receive $2.5 million in federal grants for a sewer line extension.

The extension is intended to improve water quality for 240 homes and support a regional wastewater project. It will affect the water from Lick Creek to Clinch River, which the governor’s office said is a major source of water for the area. The affected area contains mostly low or moderate income households.

Community Development Block Grants, which the federal government provides to states, is administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The commonwealth receives about $18.5 million in these grants every year.

“Safe and reliable water infrastructure is an important way to keep communities healthy,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement. “The Community Development Block Grant program is a vital tool in ensuring everyone across the Commonwealth has access to safe drinking water and reliable wastewater systems. This grant will help Russell County keep its residents safe and protect the Clinch River.”

The project will send sewage from the Dante Sewer system to the St. Paul Sewer treatment plant and decommission the Dante Sewer Treatment Plant, the governor's office said. It will provide water treatment not currently served by public sewer.

“Community Development Block Grants funding provides critical aid aimed at increasing the quality of life for many Virginians,” Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball said in a statement. “Improving the water and wastewater systems in Russell County will increase the water quality of the Clinch River, which will enhance tourism opportunities and provide a welcome boost to the regional economy."

The state determines which local government applicants receive grant funding through a competitive process, which uses objective scoring criteria developed with eligible localities.

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.